Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

I just discovered this challenge yesterday and knew I had to participate. I've been reading a lot of library books ever since the book store I worked at closed in January.

Full details and rules can be found at the hosting blog, Home Girl's Book Blog.

This challenge comes in four levels. I'm going to attempt the "Just my Size" level, which means checking out and reading 50 books. I'll list the books here as I check them out. Once I finish a book, I'll change the font color to red.

1. Fade - Lisa McMann
2. The Light of Burning Shadows - Chris Evans
3. Altar of Eden - James Rollins
4. Evernight - Claudia Gray
5. Stargazer - Claudia Gray
6. Black Order (Sigma Force, #3) - James Rollins
7. Going Bovine - Libba Bray
8. My Soul To Take - Rachel Vincent
9. Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side - Beth Fantaskey
10. Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
11. Graceling - Kristin Cashore
12. The Doomsday Key (Sigma Force, #6) - James Rollins
13. Suite Scarlett - Maureen Johnson
14. The Dream-Hunter - Sherrilyn Kenyon
15. The Scarecrow (Jack McEnvoy, #2) - Michael Connelly
16. The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy - various
17. Evil at Heart (Beauty Killer, #3) - Chelsea Cain
18. Map of Bones (Sigma Force, #2) - James Rollins
19. In the Serpent's Coils (Hallowmere, #1) - Tiffany Trent
20. By Venom's Sweet Sting (Hallowmere, #2) - Tiffany Trent
21. Between Golden Jaws (Hallowmere, #3) - Tiffany Trent
22. The Faerie Path - Frewin Jones
23. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
24. Warrior Queen: The Story of Boudica, Celtic Queen - Alan Gold
25. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
26. Intertwined - Gena Showalter
27. The Memorist (The Reincarnationist #2) - M.J. Rose
28. Change of Heart - Jodi Picoult
29. Gone (Dreamcatcher #3) - Lisa McMann
30. 13 Little Blue Envelopes - Maureen Johnson
31. Paper Towns - John Green
32. Inkheart (Inkheart #1) - Cornelia Funke
33. The Reincarnationist (The Reincarnationist #1) - M.J. Rose
34. Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1) - Eoin Colfer
35. Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception (Artemis Fowl, #2) - Eoin Colfer
36. Artemis Fowl: The Eternity code (Artemis Fowl, #3) - Eoin Colfer
37. The Key to the Golden Firebird - Maureen Johnson
38. Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception (Artemis Fowl, #4) - Eoin Colfer
39. Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony (Artemis Fowl, #5) - Eoin Colfer
40. Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox (Artemis Fowl, #6) - Eoin Colfer
41. The Luxe (The Luxe, #1) - Ana Godbersen
42. The Good, the Bad, and the Undead (The Hollows, #2) - Kim Harrison
43. The Dark Divine - Bree Despain
44. Every Which Way But Dead (The Hollows, #3) - Kim Harrison
45. Half-Moon Investigations - Eoin Colfer
46. Airman - Eoin Colfer
47. Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex (Artemis Fowl, #7) - Eoin Colfer
48. Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, #1) - Kim Harrison
49. Sandstorm (Sigma Force, #1) - James Rollins
50. My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers, #2) - Rachel Vincent
51. Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins
52. Sisters Red - Jackson Pearce
53. The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan
54. City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
55. Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson
56. Inkspell (Inkheart, #2) - Cornelia Funke
57. Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut
58. City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare
59. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
60. The Dead-Tossed Waves - Carrie Ryan
61. The King's Rose - Alisa Libby
62. Hourglass (Evernight, #3) - Claudia Gray
63. An Abundance of Katherines - John Green
64. Fire - Kristin Cashore
65. Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice, #1) - John Flannagan

Total Library Books Read as of 28 December: 57

Made it to 50! Not going to make it to 75, though, as it's already December.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Book Blogger Hop!

It's Friday! Which means it's time for Crazy for Books' weekly Book Blogger Hop. Head on over there and check out some of the other book review blogs listed. Who knows? Maybe you'll find an interesting blog or two (or three) to follow!

I did. ^_^

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Brain Asplosion

Obviously my brain didn't actually explode when I read God Soul Mind Brain by Michael Graziano. XP

Though I do believe it's a bad sign when a book aimed at "the most general, non scientific audience"(p 11) has me searching for a dictionary multiple times throughout the course of the book. The author adores ten-dollar words. I have a fairly large vocabulary myself, or I thought I did before reading this book.

For example, the author really likes the word ubiquitous. I thought I knew what it meant, but I wasn't sure. According to Merriam-Webster Online, the word means "existing or being everywhere at the same time: constantly encountered: widespread [a ubiquitous fashion]". Why not just say widespread? The meaning isn't identical, but it would get the point across. Without making people look for a dictionary.

There were other words I had to look up but ubiquitous was the most, well, ubiquitous of the lot. ^_^

My only other issue with the book is the length of some of the paragraphs. A single page of uninterrupted text is hard on the eyes. Why do that to your readers? Give the eyes a break!

The book has a lot of science in it, which is to be expected. It is, after all, about neuroscience and the search for the soul. I have a pretty good background in science, having taken the equivalent to two semesters each of biology, chemistry, and physics - all at a college level. (Biology and Chemistry were AP courses taken in high school. I actually did take two semesters of physics in college.) Surprisingly, none of that helped my understanding of the various neuroscience principles outlined in this work as much as my single semester of general psychology. Turns out there is a lot of overlap between the two.

I don't recommend reading this book unless you have a good background in the sciences and a good vocabulary. Or at least a good dictionary.

Also, a good memory. By the time I got to the end of this book, I had forgotten what point the author was trying to make. Obviously, it didn't come across very well.

Source: I read this book as an e-ARC from NetGalley. God Soul Mind Brain releases September 1, 2010.

Where to Pre-Order: Barnes & Noble

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cupcakes Are Evil

I was first drown to Devilish, by author Maureen Johnson, by the back cover copy. Which has two girls talking about a demon at their school. I giggled when I discovered said school was a Catholic high school for girls. ('Cause, ya know, I'm five.)

Despite my case of the giggles every time someone asked me what I was reading, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Why did I giggle every time? Because, every time, I did the same thing: showed the cover of the book, then said it was set in a Catholic girl's school. (Seriously, I'm five.)

Devilish starts out as an average young adult novel, albeit a well-written one. But then, about halfway through, a few paranormal elements get added. Then it turns more and more paranormal.

I love the paranormal. I LOVE it love it.

Which would be why the back cover copy drew me to this book in the first place.

So, if you like the paranormal, or just like young adult books, you'll like this book. Especially if you like paranormalness. ^_^


Source: I own this book.

Where to Buy: Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

To Be or Not To Be... a Vampire?!

You mean there's a choice?

Only for some.

Bianca, the daughter of two vampires is stuck in between two worlds: that of humans and that of true vampires. Though she was born to vampire parents, she is not a vampire herself. No, she is alive. True vampires are not.

Though she does require blood for nourishment. A requirement which only increases after she bites Lucas, a human and fellow student at Evernight Academy. A school which was founded to help vampires adjust to the ever-changing world of humans.

Bianca's first year also happens to be the first year human students are allowed admittance to Evernight. Coincidence? Doubtful.

I would love to go on and on about Evernight and Stargazer, both by Claudia Gray, but I don't want to spoil them for anyone who hasn't read them yet. If you like vampire tales and/or teen romances, you will LOVE these books.

Seriously. Read them.

Oh, and the third book in the series - Hourglass - releases stateside March 9th! Only a short wait remains!


Source: Both book were checked out from local library.

Where to Buy: Evernight: Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million
Stargazer: Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million

Babylon Rising

What if people were used as biological warfare. Not IN biological warfare. Used as weapons basically. People as weapons. Scary thought.

Now imagine it's not just people being made into weapons. It's animals, too. Big cats, foxes, monkeys, even birds. Any kind of sentient animal. Only with increased intelligence. Increased to the point of sapience. Scarier thought. Something as vicious as an animal with near-human intelligence? Shudder.

That was exactly what veterinarian Lorna Polk had to face in James Rollins's newest book Altar of Eden.

Luckily for her, she wasn't alone.

However, she did have to rely on Jack Menard, with whom she shares a secret - linked to their past. His family despises her, and hers despises his. All from one terrible happenstance.

This fast-paced thriller kept me up all night. I just had to finish reading it.

From the Louisiana bayou to two remote Caribbean islands, I followed along breathlessly. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

The best - and worst - part about this book? The science. It's almost all things that can be done with today's technology. Scary stuff.

Still a great read.


Source: Checked out from local library.

Where to Buy: Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million

Not Your Father's Elves

I don't read military fantasy. I've never been so glad to have made an exception.

From the first chapters, I loved the main characters: Konowa Swift Dragon and Visyna Tekoy. Between their rather obvious attraction to each other and ongoing verbal sparring, I often forgot I was reading military fantasy.

Then Yimt, the sole dwarf, would come onto the scene and remind me again. I think he's my favorite character. I adore him, even with his inapproriate ways. Maybe because of them.

Though the books are called the Iron Elves series, they have few actual elves in them. Most of the characters are human, with only two members of the Iron Elves regiment being actual elves.

Throughout both A Darkness Forged in Fire and The Light of Burning Shadows, both by Chris Evans, the three characters named above kept me hooked. The action didn't hurt. A good bit of fighting, lots of character interactions, lots of colorful characters, and maybe a hint of romance are what you have to look forward to in these books. Both are good reads, though not necessarily quick ones. The prose is gorgeous and poetic.

My only complaint is the relatively short length of book two. Hopefully, the third Iron Elves book - due summer 2010 - will be longer. Please?


Source: I own A Darkness Forged in Fire in paperback. The Light of Burning Shadows was checked out from the local library.

Where to Buy: Darkness: Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million
Light: Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What's Love Got to Do With It?

Lucy Valentine, only child of the C.E.O. of Valentine, Inc - a famous and successful matchmaking firm - has no desire to take over her father's company. Not even for a couple of weeks. For one thing, she was happily off on her own, doing her own thing.

Okay, maybe not so happily.

It's not like she has the family ability to see people's auras anymore, so why did her father choose her to take over while he went on sabbatical?

Because she carries the family name. His reasoning doesn't satisfy her either. But she is in between jobs, and besides, what can it hurt? It's not like she could completely screw up someone's love life. Oh, wait...

Things get even more interesting on day one of this temporary job when she meets her upstairs neighbor: P.I.-in-training Sean Donahue.

She has an immediate, and strong, reaction to him.

Don't let that fool you. This is not your standard romance novel. Nowhere near.

I loved it anyway. Waiting patiently for the second one. Maybe they'll do more than just *think* about being together.

Patient? Me? Yeah, right. ^_-

I devoured this book in one sitting, most of which was in the waiting room at the dentist's office. I got some weird looks for laughing so loudly, too. Then the ending made me cry (happy tears) - though sleep deprivation could also be blamed - and laugh. Simultaneously. More weird looks. Obviously not readers. 

Not like us. Truly, Madly by Heather Webber will make you laugh out loud.

What are you waiting for? Go buy it!


Source: I own an ARC of this book. This was sent to me by the publisher for being the 'Romance Expert' at Waldenbooks.

Where to Buy: Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million